Power Line Safety

Power lines play an important role in our everyday lives, carrying essential electricity to our homes and businesses. However, getting too close to power lines is extremely dangerous. Electrical power lines are not insulated with a protective covering like the cords for your electronics. For that reason, electricity can flow easily through a conducting object (such as metal, trees, or water) or a person that gets too close to or contacts the power line. An electrical contact can cause serious injury or death.

Electricity will always seek the quickest and shortest path to the ground. This is why it is important to maintain a safe distance of at least 30 metres between yourself and power lines at all times. Here are some tips to help keep you safe around power lines:

  • Be mindful of the service line connecting your house to the electrical grid if you are doing work outside around your house such as cleaning your gutters, painting the outside of your house, hanging holiday lights or doing work on your roof.
  • If you’re using a ladder, be careful of how and where you are placing it to avoid contacting your service entrance.
  • Do not trim or cut down trees that are touching or are near power lines. Tree trimming should only be performed by qualified utility arborists.

Working near power lines

If you see our crews out working in your community on the power system, please try to avoid the work area and give the crews adequate space to perform their work safely. Our crews are highly trained and have access to the proper personal protective equipment needed to safely work on the power system. The Prince Edward Island Occupational Health and Safety Act regulates the distances in which unqualified workers may encroach upon energized conductors, such as power lines.

For more information on working near power lines, visit our electrical safety at work page.

Downed power lines

Downed power lines are extremely dangerous. Always assume a downed power line is live and energized. If there are any objects contacting the downed power line, assume those are energized and dangerous as well. Never, under any circumstances, attempt to touch or move a downed power line.

If you see a downed power line, stay at least 30 metres away and warn others to do the same. Call 911 and call Maritime Electric at 1-800-670-1012 to report the downed power line as soon as possible. Make sure you also know what to do if your vehicle comes into contact with a downed power line.

Underground power lines

Underground wiring is becoming more common. While underground power lines are insulated and protected, if damaged they are just as dangerous as uninsulated overhead power lines.

If you plan to dig, call Maritime Electric at 1-800-670-1012 well in advance of breaking ground. A representative can visit your site to locate potential underground energized power lines to prevent a potential accidental contact.

Download the Working Near Overhead and Underground Power Lines brochure [PDF-856 KB]